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The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) was founded in 1969 to foster multidisciplinary research efforts at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It is one of four ethnic studies centers established at UCLA that year, all of which were the first in the nation and have advanced our understanding of the essential contributions of people of color to U.S. history, thought, and culture. The centers remain the major organized research units in the University of California system that focus on ethnic and racial communities and contribute to the system's research mission.
The CSRC serves the entire campus and supports faculty and students in the social sciences, life sciences, humanities, and the professional schools. Its research addresses the past and also growing Chicano and Latino population, which now constitutes nearly one-third of California and one-half of Los Angeles, but continues to have disproportionately low access to higher education. The CSRC is one of four ethnic studies centers established at UCLA in 1969 that are now part of the Institute of American Cultures (IAC), which reports to the Office of the Chancellor at UCLA. The CSRC is also a founding member of the national Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR, est. 1983), a consortium of Latino research centers that now includes twenty-five institutions in the United States.
The CSRC houses a library, special collections archive, an academic press, research programs, community-based partnerships, and two competitive grant/fellowship programs organized through the IAC. Each year the CSRC is able to augment grants and fellowships through funds created specifically for research at the CSRC. These include Los Tigres del Norte Fund, the Tamar Diana Wilson Fund, and the Carlos M. Haro Scholarship Fund.
Since the 1970s, the CSRC holds six "institutional FTE" or faculty positions that are placed on loan to departments. These positions were originally designed to increase the center's research capacity, but they also allow the center to serve as a vital force across campus for diversifying the curriculum and the faculty.
Since its founding, the CSRC has played a pivotal role in the development of scholarly research on the Chicano-Latino population. The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press publishes research by and about Mexican Americans. The Press was partly responsible for the founding and flowering of Chicano studies in the 1970s—launching the careers of young academics who could not find mainstream publishers. The press has published the journal of record in the field, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, for over thirty-five years. It has also published over 100 scholarly books, research reports, reference guides, policy briefs, newsletters, and DVDs. Four books published by the CSRC in 2012 won 10 awards in eight different categories at Latino Literacy Now's 15th annual International Latino Book Awards. As of 2013, the Press has received a total of 24 book awards.
Three CSRC Press series are of special note. The A Ver: Revisioning Art History book series is a ground-breaking effort to document the work of prominent individual Latino artists. As of 2013, the published volumes are on Gronk, Yolanda M. Lopez, Celia Álvarez Muñoz, María Brito, Carmen Lomas Garza, Malaquias Montoya, Rafael Ferrer, and Ricardo Valverde. The Chicano Archives book series includes reference guides to UCLA library special collections on Chicanos, with histories and finding aids. Subjects include the renowned community arts organization Self Help Graphics & Art in East Los Angeles, the Robert Legorreta–Cyclona Collection, the Mexican Museum of San Francisco Papers, the Oscar Castillo Papers and Photograph Collection, the Latino Theatre Initiative/Center Theatre Group Papers, and the Arhoolie Foundation's Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings. The Chicano Cinema & Media Arts series is an effort to preserve the many important Chicano films and videos that are no longer available. The first DVD is about the two earliest Chicano art documentaries; subsequent DVDs have focused on the video work of individual Chicano artists, including Laura Aguilar, Harry Gamboa Jr., and Gronk. Through its many publications, the press has shaped opinion, policy, and research on the Chicano population, both nationally and internationally.
Established in 1969, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Library was the first library in the United States to focus on the Mexican-descent population. Today, it continues to serve the needs of students and faculty at UCLA and around the world. The CSRC is a non-circulating library, though most materials may be photocopied within the premises.
The Library's holdings consist of monographs, subject files, dissertations and theses, films, videotapes, audio recordings, and manuscript collections. The Library has also entered partnerships to provide online digital collections of music, photography, and the visual arts.
The Library hosts art exhibitions, film screenings, and meetings, and it works closely with other UCLA libraries, community-based resources, and other Latino archives.
The CSRC Archive is considered to hold among the most important national and international research collections in existence on the Chicana and Chicano experience. The Archive holds over 120 collections including periodicals, original prints by Chicana/o artists, photographs, slides, papers, and records. Of special is the Archive's collection of monolingual and bilingual English and Spanish newspapers and journals published throughout the southwestern U.S. from the nineteenth century onward.
The Archive has recently taken on digital archive projects, and works with UCLA based libraries to provide access.
Chicano, or Chicana, is a chosen identity for Mexican Americans in the United States. Chicano or Xicano are sometimes used interchangeably with Mexican-American, and both names exist as chosen identities within the Mexican-American community in the United States.
M.E.Ch.A. is an organization that seeks to promote Chicano unity and empowerment through political action. The acronym of the organization's name is the Chicano word mecha, which is the Chicano pronunciation of the English word match and therefore symbolic of a fire or spark; mecha in Spanish means fuse or wick. The motto of MEChA is 'La Union Hace La Fuerza'.
José Montoya was a poet and an artist from Sacramento, California. He was one of the most influential Chicano bilingual poets. He has published many well-known poems in anthologies and magazines. He was Sacramento's poet laureate.
Norma Elia Cantú is a Chicana postmodernist writer and the Murchison Professor in the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Gronk is the pseudonym of Chicano painter, printmaker, and performance artist Glugio Nicandro. His work is collected by museums around the country including the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Chicano Movement of the 1960s, also called the Chicano civil rights movement or El Movimiento, was a civil rights movement extending the Mexican-American civil rights movement of the 1960s with the stated goal of achieving Mexican American empowerment. Similar to the Black Power movement, scholars have also written about the repression and police brutality experienced by members of this movement which some connect to larger government-organized activity such as COINTELPRO.
Alberto Baltazar Urista Heredia better known by his nom de plume Alurista, is a Chicano poet and activist.
Chicana/o studies, also known as Chican@ studies, originates from the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, and is the study of the Chicana/o and Latina/o experience. Chican@ studies draws upon a variety of fields, including history, sociology, the arts, and Chican@ literature. The area of studies additionally emphasizes the importance of Chican@ educational materials taught by Chican@ educators for Chican@ students.
Alicia Gaspar de Alba is a scholar, cultural critic, novelist, and poet whose works include historical novels and scholarly studies on Chicana/o art, culture and sexuality.
Rod Francisco Acuña, Ph.D., is an American historian, professor emeritus, and one of various scholars of Chicano studies, which he teaches at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, which approaches the history of the Southwestern United States that includes Mexican Americans. It has been reprinted five times since its 1972 debut. The sixth edition was published Dec. 1, 2006. He has also written for the Los Angeles Times,The Los Angeles Herald-Express, La Opinión, and numerous other newspapers. His work emphasizes the struggle of the Mexican American people. Acuña is also an activist and he has supported the numerous causes of the Chicano Movement.
Juan Gómez-Quiñones is an American historian, professor of history, poet, and activist. He is best known for his work in the field of Chicana/o history. As a co-editor of the Plan de Santa Bárbara, an educational manifesto for the implementation of Chicano studies programs in universities nationwide, he was an influential figure in the development of the field.
William Anthony Nericcio, aka Memo, is a Chicano literary theorist, cultural critic, American Literature scholar, and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University. Currently Director of the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences program, he is the author of the award-winning Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America,The Hurt Business: Oliver Mayer's Early Works Plus, and Homer From Salinas: John Steinbeck's Enduring Voice for the Californias. Nericcio is also a graphic designer, creating book covers, film posters, and websites, most notably for SDSU Press and Hyperbole Books, where he oversees the production of cultural studies tomes. His Text-Mex Gallery blog investigates the pathological interrogation of Mexican, Latina/o, Chicana/o, "Hispanic," Mexican-American, and Latin American stereotypes, political, and cultural issues. He is also the curator of the text-image exhibition entitled “MEXtasy,” which has been displayed at numerous institutions, including University of Michigan and South Texas College. Currently working on his follow-up book to Tex[t]-Mex, Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race, his most recent publication is Talking #browntv: Latinas and Latinos on the Screen, co-authored with Frederick Luis Aldama, for the Ohio State University Press.
Judithe Hernández is a Los Angeles–based artist whose career began as a founding member of the Chicano Art/Los Angeles Mural movements. She first received acclaim in the 1970s as a muralist. In her long career as a studio artist her artistic practice as centered on works-on-paper, principally pastels, which frequently incorporate indigenist imagery and the social-political tension of gender roles. Hernández has lived both in Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles. In 1974, she became the fifth member, and only woman, in Los Four, the influential and celebrated East Los Angeles Chicano artist collective, along with Carlos Almaraz, Frank E. Romero, Robert de la Rocha, and Gilbert Luján. As early as 1970, Hernández was involved in the initial efforts of Chicano artists in East Los Angeles to organize. Of this experience, Hernández later said that "Often I was literally the only female at meetings who was not a girlfriend or wife, but an active artist participant."
The Chicano Art Movement represents attempts by Mexican-American artists to establish a unique artistic identity in the United States. Much of the art and the artists creating Chicano Art were heavily influenced by Chicano Movement which began in the 1960s. Chicano art was influenced by post-Mexican Revolution ideologies, pre-Columbian art, European painting techniques and Mexican-American social, political and cultural issues. The movement worked to resist and challenge dominant social norms and stereotypes for cultural autonomy and self-determination. Some issues the movement focused on were awareness of collective history and culture, restoration of land grants, and equal opportunity for social mobility. Throughout the movement and beyond, Chicanos have used art to express their cultural values, as protest or for aesthetic value. The art has evolved over time to not only illustrate current struggles and social issues, but also to continue to inform Chicano youth and unify around their culture and histories. Chicano art is not just Mexican-American artwork: it is a public forum that emphasizes otherwise "invisible" histories and people in a unique form of American art.
Willie Herrón III is an American Chicano muralist, performance artist and commercial artist.
Shifra Goldman was an American art historian, feminist, and activist. She had a probing intellect and a sense of "brutal" honesty. She also had an "encyclopedic" knowledge of art history and a passion for Chicana/o art.
Laura Aguilar was an American photographer. She was born with auditory dyslexia and attributes her start in photography to her brother who showed her how to develop in dark rooms. She was mostly self-taught although she took some photography courses at East Los Angeles College where her second solo exhibition Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell was held. She is well known for her portraits, mostly of herself and also focused upon people in marginalized communities including LGBT and Latino subjects and obese people.
Yreina Cervantez is an American artist and Chicana activist who is known for her multimedia painting, murals, and printmaking. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Mexican Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
Isabel Castro, also known as Isabel Castro-Melendez, is a Mexican American artist born in 1954 in Mexico City. She was raised and still resides in Los Angeles, California. Aside from being an artist, Isabel Castro's extensive career includes curatorial work, education, journalism and photography.
The University of California, Los Angeles Asian American Studies Center (AASC) is an organization that educates students and the general public about the history of Asian American and Pacific Islanders and their experiences. The AASC is one of the leading and groundbreaking organizations to have substantial and credible resources for their research. Located in Campbell Hall, the AASC quickly became a center for resource-gathering and scholarship for the Asian American movement. Asian American student organizations at CSULA, Occidental, USC, and other colleges soon followed. It was a vital hub and training ground for young activists, a place where they could earn a salary while doing community work.